Below are some other photos from our trip to Arthur’s Gallery last week. He’s a gifted painter for sure, but I think he may have been surpassed this time by that other great artist, Mother Nature. (See last pic).
I had the pleasure of seeing this group live at the Hammersmith Odeon many (blue) moons ago, while I was at University in London. (I’m not sure how I could afford the ticket, but there you go…) They were on before the Four Tops and I have to say they outshone them by far. I still have their LP on vinyl, though they were/are known as the Detroit Spinners in the UK, to avoid any confusion with another group called The Spinners. Whatever, this is a great song, and the video from Soul Train is a classic!
I couldn’t spend a week staying on “the Camino” without walking some of it. So, last week, I set off to walk from Arthur’s gallery, which is just beyond Triacastela (if you turn right there, rather than left to Samos) and about 130km from the finish in Santiago de Compostela. My goal was to get to Sarria, where I would be picked up late in the afternoon, but I reached there at 11:30am. So I carried on…
One of the big attractions of the Camino is that there are signposts at least every 500m (I’m told) and usually at any junction, so you don’t need to carry a map or be very good at navigation. Also, I realised afterwards, there are no gates to open, or stiles to climb over, (on my section anyway), which makes for a slightly smoother journey. Many people don’t even book their accommodation ahead, so that they are free to stop, or carry on, as the fancy takes them. Though this does mean that there is a tendency for quite a few people to set off at the crack of dawn (which must be delightful for other guests or walkers staying in the same albergue or hostel – not to mention people trying to sleep below a gallery on the Camino).
Clearly there are other advantages too, like it’s a good walk with some nice scenery and you will get to meet, or pass, looooaaaads of people. But that, for me, even though I consider myself a very sociable person, puts me off doing the whole thing. (I also get quite competitive, as nobody walks passed me!) There’s quite a lot of road, or next to road, sections too, though they are often fairly quiet back roads.
For info also, I noticed quite a lot of cyclists taking on the route and I saw some specific signs in the road, so there must be a cyclist’s variation. This must get you from A to B somewhat quicker but, then, you may miss a lot (of the point) of the journey. In addition there are a few alternative routes to Santiago de Compostela, like one along the north coast of Spain and another up through Portugal, which you might like to consider to be a little ‘different’.
Anyway, I managed another 8km (5 miles) beyond Sarria before I turned back, covering the same ground, which made my walk about 30km (18 miles) in total. Though I have to say, just in case you have a mind to do it in reverse, it’s not as easy to navigate as you might think – given that the signs are geared towards pilgrims on the normal route. (And I think you will be fed up of saying “Ola” or “Buen Camino” to thousands of people).
No sooner had we arrived at our friend Arthur’s place on the Camino de Santiago, near Triacastella, (N. Spain), he announced that he had a blackbird’s nest in the bush clambering over his terrace and that there were two wrens building a nest in the palm tree only 2 to 3 yards away from his kitchen window. Not only that but we spotted a family of young blackcaps ‘playing’ in the elderflower bushes to the left of the terrace. So this is their story…
Let me first ‘set the scene’ with a (very poor) panoramic picture below of Arthur’s terrace – the palm tree is on the extreme far right, the (dark) green ‘blackbird’ bush is also to the right and the elderflowers to the left. (The glass of wine was mine! 😊)
The Blackbirds were clearly well advanced as they all fledged and disappeared within a few days of us arriving. But I did manage to capture the one picture below of at least 3 beaks (at the centre of the image).
The Wrens were having a hard time of it. Their first nest had been destroyed (I forget how now), but they were busy building their second towards the bottom of the dead brown leaves hanging down from the palm tree. Unfortunately a storm blew up and hail (yes, hail – in June!) knocked it to the ground. Undeterred, they carried on building another nest further up the tree. One can only admire the determination and industry of these tiny little birds!
Last, but not least, the Blackcaps entertained us all week with their presence. Rather than fly away when we approached the corner of the terrace, they simply hopped behind a leaf or onto the next branch. This allowed me to get a few good pictures, including a very interesting series (see pics numbered 9 to 14) where the male parent returned with a berry and offered it to 2 of the 3 chicks, but then gulped it down itself. It was as if the parent was saying, “Take a good look, this is what you should be out there looking for, now get going…!”) Alternatively, or as well, the ‘teenage’ young, were looking suitably grumpy and saying “Not berries for dinner again!”).
OK, pop-pickers, as I think Alan Freeman used to say on UK Radio 1, here’s an oldie but a goodie (and I don’t mean Tim Brooke-Taylor or Bill Oddie or Graham Garden). This song takes me back to when I was young and hadn’t a care in the world (other than trying to learn ancient Greek at school!) I hope you enjoy! 😊
I promised you a few weeks ago that I would post some pictures of my daughter’s wedding. Well, the official photos are now available (courtesy of Fox Moon Photography) and so it gives me great pleasure to replicate some of them here.
To say that it was a very special day would be the biggest understatement of understatements. The sun shone brightly and everyone had a fabulous time – especially the bride and groom, who were smiling throughout day.
Let me bring you a little bit more up to date – well, to the early 90’s. I’m not sure if M People made it in the States, but they are certainly one of my favourite groups. From the very first time I heard them, possibly even listening to this song, I was a fan. The lead singer, Heather Small, has such a rich and soulful voice, it just makes it for me. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this song from their first album, Northern Soul.
After several days, if not weeks, of misty, wet, dank weather, the sun finally came out in the Val d’Hérens yesterday. As you will see from some of the pictures below, the peaks are still covered in snow, so I chose to do a slightly different ‘medium level’ walk from La Luette to Nax via St Martin.
As soon as I set off I knew I was in for a good day with the camera. There were a lot more wild flowers in bloom and many more species of butterfly on the wing, including, I’m pretty sure, a Camberwell Beauty, which unfortunately escaped my lens.
My apologies for not naming all of the pictures below, but as you will see there are quite a few. But this only goes to show what a wide variety there is in nature. 😊
I’m not quite sure why it is, but I always seem to hear my type of music being played wherever I go. It doesn’t matter if I’m in the local supermarket, or any of the shops around town, the airwaves are filled with Mike’s Music. Even during the Geneva Open tennis last week, they played songs in between games to entertain the crowd. As well as Celebration there was this particular song by Indeep, which was released in 1982. Enjoy and have a great week!
Our lives are nothing if not varied… 😊 My wife, Jude, is a big tennis fan and she noticed that Alexander Zverev had chosen to play in the Geneva Open, as a warm-up for the French Open next week. Other ‘stars’ were also due to play, like local Vaudois hero Stan ‘The Man’ Wawrinka, so we bought tickets for the quarter finals on Thursday. Unfortunately Stan was knocked out early in the competition, but we were still treated to some excellent tennis.
The venue and event is small and very intimate and, at least on quarter finals day, you can get up close and, if you’re lucky, even chat to some of the players. (E.g. see pic 5).
The eventual finalists were Nicolas Jarry and Alexander Zverev, who subsequently played out a very close final yesterday evening, with Zverev winning 10-8 in a 3rd set tiebreak.